New research reveals the best music to listen to before going to bed, suggesting that artists like Chopin and Coldplay are particularly well-suited for catching quality Zzz’s.
In the study, researchers aimed to figure out both what people tune into before hitting the hay and why it’s so common to use music as a sleep aid. To do this, they surveyed 651 people to get a sense of their pre-snooze Spotify habits.
When analyzing the data, they discovered that 62% of participants reported listening to music in order to doze off. Of the 545 artists and 14 genres highlighted in the survey, the most popular picks were Bach, Ed Sheeran, Mozart, Brian Eno, Coldplay, and Chopin. Apparently, the reasons for bedtime listening were four-fold: Music offers unique properties that stimulate sleep, tunes are naturally part of a bedtime routine, music induces a feeling of sleepiness and calm, and the noise blocks out external distractions.
What seemed to surprise study authors most was the varying reasons why people use music as a sleep aid and the range of artists they prefer. As they wrote in the study abstract: “Diversity was observed both in music choices … and in the reasons why music supports good sleep, which went far beyond simple physical/mental relaxation.”
Sing Me to Sleep
The majority of research that’s looked at the connection between music and sleep has mainly been conducted in clinical settings, studying either hospitalized patients or individuals with sleep disorders. One study, for example, found that listening to music for 45 minutes prior to sleep extended REM sleep in adults with chronic insomnia.
With evidence in the medical field growing fast, researchers are now turning towards lay populations to better understand the link. We saw this a few months ago, when composer Max Richter partnered with neurologist David Eagleman to create “SLEEP,” an eight-hour live concert literally designed to make its audience pass out.
While we haven’t cracked the code on exactly how music can lull us to sleep, we do know it can affect the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers our blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, and quiets our digestion tract.
The Sleep Foundation recommends choosing a style of music that is pretty slow – 60 to 80 beats a minute — while other sleep experts advise sticking to soothing sounds like classical, jazz, or folk before bed. Given that, perhaps screamo rap and heavy metal aren’t the best bedtime choice before hitting the hay.